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cotdeathMidwives at Isle of Wight NHS Trust are advising parents of new born babies and anyone caring for a baby to follow good practice advice for safe sleep to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

SIDS – or cot death as it is also known – is the sudden and unexpected death of a baby when no cause is found. Whilst SIDS is rare, it can still happen and there are steps parents can take to help reduce the chance of this tragedy occurring.

Head of Midwifery, Annie Hunter says:

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“Following a tragic death of a baby in the postnatal period we need to take this opportunity to re-emphasise the importance of safer sleep for babies.

“All women on discharge from the Maternity Unit are given a leaflet regarding safer sleep produced by the Lullaby Trust and a discussion highlighting recommendations is documented in the hand held Maternity Notes. We would also expect conversations around safer sleep advice to be happening at every opportunity in the antenatal and postnatal period.  Many health professionals, Midwives, Health Visitors, GP’s should be reinforcing this invaluable advice to parents.”

Advice given includes:

Things you can do

  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep
  • Keep your baby smoke free during pregnancy and after birth
  • Breastfeed your baby, if you can.
  • Place you baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months.
  • Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition

Things to avoid

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  • Never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby
  • Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink, take drugs or are extremely tired or if you baby was born prematurely or was of low birth weight.
  • Avoid letting your baby get too hot
  • Don’t cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping or use loose bedding

Further information can be found on the NHs Choices website (www.nhs.uk) at http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/reducing-risk-cot-death.aspx or the Lullaby Trust website at www.lullabytrust.org.uk/.

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